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This is a follow up to yesterday’s post where I talked about the people around in our communities that we will overlook if are not intentional about looking for them. So, today let’s look at how we can find, recognize and reach the invisible people that are all around us.
Recently I attended the Children’s Pastor’s Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was a great experience, as these conferences usually are. But, in the midst of it there came a moment that truly rocked me. Actually there were several moments that changed me. This is the story of one of those moments.
As I understand it there were around 1200 children’s ministry leaders at this conference. That’s 1200 people that love the Lord, love kids and are eager to do whatever it takes to reach them.
Or are they?
Your first thought may be, “Of course they are. That’s why they are at the conference.” I would tend to agree, but I think that there is something we might be missing.
You see, this conference was going just like many others that I have been to. Great worship opportunities. Great speakers were sharing their knowledge and inspiration. There were the usual conversations in the hall and meeting people that had previously only been a face or name on social media.
That’s when something happened that changed it all.
After the last session on the night before the conference ended, a group of us gathered at a local café to fellowship. This lasted till quite late then we all went back to our hotels and went to bed.
Well, not ALL of us.
You see my friend Charlie decided to do something else. You may know him as Kidmin Charlie. If you do, then you know that he has a passion for street ministry and for sharing the gospel wherever he goes. While the rest of us were sleeping, Charlie was walking the streets of Chattanooga. While doing so he encountered a man spending the night in a tent with his wife and daughter. This was within blocks of the conference center. That night it was in the low to mid 30s and raining and this family was sleeping in a tent! Through prayer and faith God provided the means for this family to get a hotel room for the night and to get out of the cold and rain.
As I heard this story It struck me that with 1200 children’s ministry leaders gathering just a block or two from where this family set up their tent, only one of us cared enough to find them. To the rest of us at the conference this family was INVISIBLE.
Please understand, I am not downplaying the value of conferences or the importance of training. I don’t doubt that God is using many of the people at the conference to do amazing things in their communities. Charlie has a unique call on his life. Not everyone’s call is intended to look like Charlie’s. But, we are all called to see the invisible people around us. So, I ask:
Who are the invisible people around you?
Who are the people that no one sees?
Who are the people that no one is ministering to?
In the story mentioned above it was a family sleeping in a tent on a cold and rainy night. But, this is not always the case. Perhaps there is a neighborhood in your area where the people are simply ignored by the church. Maybe it is a poor neighborhood. Maybe it is a wealthy one. Maybe we ignore it because we are afraid of what might happen to us. Maybe we ignore it because we don’t think the people will respond.
In the parable of the sower Jesus does not hold us responsible for the condition of the soil. He does not hold us responsible for the growth. He does hold us responsible for sowing the seed, regardless of the condition of the soil or how much growth WE THINK will happen.
So, think what can you do to reach the invisible people in your community? Let’s look at that tomorrow. In the mean time pray that God will help you to see the people that you have been unable to see before.Matt Norman
Tonight was the start of the 2015 Children’s Pastors Conference. It had the usual trappings of a conference of this kind: high quality worship, free bag full of goodies, lots of passionate kidmin people. But, there is one thing that makes CPC unique:
The Resource Center
Let me describe it to you like this. Imagine every company that makes or offers anything for children’s ministry all under one roof. That is what the Resource Center is. Ok, maybe there is a vendor or two that is not there, but there are still a great many that are there. Plus you get to talk with the people that actually create the stuff. You can hear they’re heart and share yours. You can tell them about your ministry and, together, determine how their product can best fit your ministry. Certainly there are resource centers at every conference. But, this is kinda like the difference between going to a convenience store and going to a Super Wal-mart. If there was nothing else of value here, the resource center would make the trip worth it.
Matt is the current head of INCM, the organization that puts on CPC. After a time of worship and some inspiration from Matt, along with Keith Ferrin, Matt lead the first general session. He spoke some on the history of INCM and CPC. He then moved into talking about the person of God, who God is. He shared this story that I thought was GREAT.
When the power goes out in your house what do you do? You probably get out your phone and use its light to find a candle and something to light it with. This all makes sense. BUT, it wouldn’t make sense to go outside in the morning and point your phone to the sky to see if the sun has risen. Trying to prove God is kinda like pointing your phone at the sun trying.
This is so true. God is God. The evidence of Him is everywhere we look. Even as the evidence that the sun has risen is visible in all but the deepest, darkest places, so is the evidence of God, only even greater. The evidence of God is greater because, even in the deepest, darkest evidence of God can be found. There are ways to block out the light of the sun. There are places that you can go that can completely block out the light of the sun. Don’t believe me that a cave tour sometime. In most such tours there is a point where they will turn out the lights in the cave. In that moment there is absolutely zero light. But, even in the darkest moments of our lives, if we are willing to look, we can see evidence of God.
Beth Guckenberg spoke next. But, I will save that for another post. Mostly because it’s late and I’m tired.Matt Norman